Elk Creek Cafe to step in during weekend that would have hosted Karoondinha

Pure Cane Sugar, which had been scheduled to play the Karoondinha music festival, will perform during Sunday’s Elk-Ha Fest in Millheim.
Pure Cane Sugar, which had been scheduled to play the Karoondinha music festival, will perform during Sunday’s Elk-Ha Fest in Millheim. Centre Daily Times, file

Elk Creek Café + Aleworks does it again. Well, Elk Creek will do it again on Sunday when it holds Elk-Ha Fest, an event developed compliment — and now replace on a microcosmic scale — the canceled Karoondinha music festival, Centre County’s first planned mega-fest.

That sounds like a lot, I know, but if anyone can pull off something really awesome after an epic let down like Karoondhina, it’s Elk Creek co-owner Tim Bowser and his crew. Held at the Millheim Fire Company grounds, the show features musicians that had been on K-Ha’s bill, including Eric Ian Farmer, Pure Cane Sugar, Hannah Bingaman and the Dilly Beans and new Centre County ace Count Bass D. There will be local fare from Nomad Kitchen, Leroy’s Infamous UpTexas BBQ and Street Meat.

Bowser said he was sorry to see Karoondinha canceled.

“We thought it was a good thing for the valley (and) we were going to be selling beer there,” he said. “But when it went down, we suddenly had this Sunday open, as did these bands. They were all scheduled to play Karoondinha on Sunday. ... But primarily, we wanted to support — in some small way — some of our musician friends who got shut out.”

That’s the magic of the Elk Creek, which is by extension the magic of Centre County, because it can totally be pulled off. . There was an unfortunate opening in the region’s musical schedule, a bunch of local musicians were looking to fill a date that may have had them brushing shoulders with John Legend and the Roots, among others, and now the Elk Creek is having Elk-Ha, an appropriately funny and somehow still reverent shout out to Karoondinha.

Local musicians were as disappointed as anyone when we were all woken up from the Karoondinha dream. It was a big gig, and it was going to be awesome. As salty as I was about the price, I was still probably going to get there for at least one day, to hopefully see Pure Cane Sugar crush a slot, and then whomever else throughout the rest of the day. The truth is, I’d go just to see Pure Cane Sugar perform — the same as I would Farmer, the co-keeper of the Centre County heart space, and the same as I would any of the other local acts who were fortunate enough to get the gig.

Pure Cane Sugar’s Kate Twoey said the band was contacted by Bowser after the news broke about Karoondinha.

“There was so much excitement for the highly anticipated Karoondinha festival, and Elk-HA is certainly easing the disappointment,” she said. “Elk-Ha or K-Ha, any time we get to spend an afternoon together making music and seeing people smile and enjoying each other, we feel fortunate.”

And that, my friends, is what it’s all about: making music, seeing people smile and enjoy each other and feeling fortunate.

Kevin Briggs is a musician, writer and teacher who performs at venues throughout central Pennsylvania. Contact him at KevinTBriggs@gmail.com.


  • What: Elk-Ha Fest
  • When: 4-8 p.m. Sunday
  • Where: Millheim Fire Company grounds, North Street, Millheim
  • Info: www.elkcreekcafe.com